Railroad crossing - copyright driversprep.com

What Should You Do if Your Car Stalls on Railroad Tracks?

What should you do if your car stalls on the tracks at railroad crossing and a train is approaching?

First, do not assume you have time to push your car off the tracks. It is extremely hard to judge the speed or distance of a moving train. Approaching trains create optical illusions, appearing to move slower and be farther away than they actually are.

Never stand beside your car and try to make the train stop. Trains cannot swerve or stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 mph may need a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That is a lot of football fields!

Get out of the way as quickly as you can!

Why You Should Run towards the Train

Leave your car and quickly run away from the tracks. Then comes the tricky part. In which direction should you run?

The correct answer is towards the train. Do not run down the tracks in the same direction as the train is going.

Some users react to this:

I can’t run in the opposite direction of the train. I’ll get killed.

How can that be right? I will run into the train!

Staying Clear of the Tracks

Remember, the first part is to stay clear of the tracks. Move parallel to or slightly away from the tracks, not on the tracks. This should be pretty obvious, shouldn’t it?

Think about what will happen when the train hits the car. When the train strikes the car it will send flying metal and glass ahead and outward from the locomotive!

Read that part again: debris will be flying ahead and outward from the locomotive!

Debris will be flying forward. It will not fly back in the direction from which the train is coming. That is why so important that you (and your passengers) run far enough away from the tracks and in the direction of the oncoming train so you will not be hit by the flying debris. If you would run down the tracks, or even in a 90 degree angle from the tracks, you could be hit by debris.